Badges are a hot topic in education these days. Edutopia has a list of badges you can self-select or apply for, Mozilla’s Open Badge Project provides an infrastructure (still in Beta), including code, for the designing, earning and issuing of badges and the Federally endorsed Connected Educator’s month held a Webinar last week on the topic of “badging”. Badges can be a way to:
- Document and display skills
- Provide emphasis to an accurate measure of competency
- Account for informal as well as formal learning
So what would a Virtual World Educator Badge look like? What would the criteria for earning one include? Would there be multiple badges or just one? Virtual Wold educators are both consumers and producers. Some use the spaces (which include the sandbox genre as well as game environments) effectively to teach groups of students, yet never produce within the environment. Others have developed extensive technical skills like terrafoming, building, scripting, graphic design, 3D rendering , live-streaming music and machinima to create an environment specific to student needs and a curricular area. Some educators use Virtual Worlds for their own professional learning while others use virtual worlds to teach others.
What would an educator have to do to earn the badge? Would there be an artifact or proof of having met the criteria? Who would check? Who would issue such a badge? With multiple schools, organizations, companies and agencies making use of virtual worlds for teaching and learning they may each design and develop badges aligned to their particular objectives and philosophies. What a great opportunity for collaboration among these groups to determine the criteria for earning badges in the area of virtual worlds and education. Perhaps a peer review of evidence would be appropriate and meaningful. With the amount of material written on the subject it seems that Badges will likely be a part of educator’s future. My questions are not rhetorical, I welcome feedback on the topic to continue the conversation and perhaps influence the possibility of a Virtual World Educator Badge.
- Virtual World in Training Simulator (dvidshub.net)
- OpenSimulator 0.7.4 (core.freecode.com)
- The Virtual Salon (irez.me)
- Education is already Gamified: Dan Hickey on Badges (computinged.wordpress.com)
- Perfect Virtual World for Kids for Sale (prweb.com)